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Overview of Florida's Rent Increase Laws

System - Thursday, December 19, 2019

landlord tenant law on single family home and family home or duplex landlord tenant laws

Florida landlords in Miami need to keep up with rental market trends. Sometimes economic changes demand that you raise your rent price to keep up with the market. Other possible reasons for increasing your rent include:

  • Paying for property maintenance, including all of the rental premises
  • Matching the current market rates
  • Improving rental property living conditions
  • Accommodating tax increases
  • Increasing the ongoing cash flow

Raising the rent sounds pretty straightforward but in reality, it can be quite complicated. Florida state law consists of rental laws that include a lot of tenant and landlord responsibilities. 

The Florida landlord-tenant law cover everything from what needs to be specified in the rental agreement to health codes to be followed and even what issues can be taken to county court. 

If Florida landlords or tenants fail to follow Florida laws or the specifics of the written rental agreement, it can cause trouble for you and the dwelling unit. Tenant responsibilities are outlined by the law as much as yours are.

To avoid any legal issues, be familiar with Florida law on the matter before increasing the rent of your apartment, single-family home, family home or duplex. If you're a landlord with an applicable building, knowing the local landlord-tenant law is essential.

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In this article, we will go over the main points within the laws you should know about increasing your rent cost in Florida.

How do you inform your tenants about the increase?

Before raising the rent, you need to provide your tenants with official, written notice. This tenant notice needs to answer the following questions:

  • How much will the rent increase?
  • When will the rent increase come into effect?

There is not a specific clause in Florida laws that specifies how much notice you need to give, only that it's a landlord's responsibility to provide 'proper notice' for any changes in rent for the dwelling unit. You may think seven days is reasonable, but it's possible your tenant fails to feel the same way.

The recommended course of action to take is to follow the rules of notice for terminating a written lease agreement. These state that you have to give your tenant 15 days of notice when terminating a monthly rental agreement. In the case of a yearly lease agreement, you have to give a tenant notice of 60 days. 

If you receive a different type of periodic rental payments as stated by your written lease agreement with the tenant, part of Florida landlords' responsibilities is to find out what amount of notice would be reasonable for that lease's termination.

This tenant written notice gives the current tenant time before the end of the rental period. This time is usually used to let the tenant have a look at the new rent payment or gather their personal property in anticipation of moving out.

After this initial notice is delivered, there is no need for further notice about the raise of rent of the rented premises until the days of notice have ended. The remaining tenant must then either sign a new lease agreement stating the higher rent or decide to terminate the rental agreement, but they cannot withhold rent.

If a tenant fails to vacate the premises prior to the stated date on the notice or terminate the rental agreement, it might result in lost rental payments. This is why following the Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws is so important. You may have to begin the eviction process or a court order from your Florida tenant by providing an eviction notice.

If you follow through with Florida landlords' responsibilities beforehand, it will reduce your court costs if it comes to that. A good landlord-tenant relationship can also lessen the need for the landlord's attorney to get involved. Just be sure to follow the Florida law and respect tenant rights.

Whatever the case, know your responsibilities when it comes to written notice and also be aware of tenant rights when it comes to the rental unit. Both the landlord and the tenant are responsible for following the Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws when it comes to the rental property. 

Alt text: landlord tenant law on single family home, family home or duplex, and applicable building

Legal notice of an increase in rent in Florida.

Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws state that it's part of a landlord's obligations to provide written notice. You can either send it by mail or deliver it in person to your tenant under Florida law, but it must be written and given with reasonable notice or else you could end up with unpaid rent on the rental unit.

How much can Florida landlords raise rent?

Florida statutes do not have limits on rent increases. As a landlord, you can raise the rent on your rental property as much as you want. It is important, however, that you consider the consequences of charging too much or too little:

  • If you charge too much, you might lose your current tenants. The process of finding new tenants may take a considerable amount of time, and you will face a higher turnover rate and longer vacancies. Lease agreements may be hard to litigate as the possible tenant insists the rent is too high to pay. This situation can hurt your rental business if the tenant refuses to pay rent that's that high.
  • If you charge too little, you risk damaging your cash flow. When Florida landlords fail to charge proper rent, the return on investment will enter a suboptimal state. Potential tenants may be suspicious of prices that are a lot lower than the market average. They may avoid renting from you because they suspect some sort of violation of the law or the health codes.

How much should you charge? 

You should pick an amount akin to other similar rented premises in the neighborhood. Do your research on the market by checking nearby rental prices online before drafting your written agreement. Tenant disputes over overcharging rent are common. To avoid these tenant disputes, do your research! If a landlord fails to do this, they could lose tenants.

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Some local laws may prohibit you from increasing your rent. For example, rent control or stabilization laws. Always check with the local officials before you increase the price.

Is it legal to increase rent?

Under Florida Landlord-Tenant Law, landlords cannot increase rent for rented premises due to discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. It's always a good idea to document why you are raising the rent in a written agreement with the tenant. This will help you in case of potential conflicts with Florida tenants as long as you are aware of certain parts of Florida Landlord-Tenant Law like tenant rights and the Florida Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.

  • Discrimination. You have to treat all your renters on an equal basis. Florida statutes describe discrimination as taking place when you treat someone differently based on their unique characteristics. These include the following: disability, familial status, gender, national origin, race, and religion. Florida statutes also include unfavorable military discharge, skin color, ancestry, or sexual orientation.
  • Retaliation. You cannot increase the rent of your rental property as an act of retaliation. Your renter may report code violations or form a tenant’s rights organization. In cases like this, you are not allowed to raise the rent, harass the tenant, or evict them, and a tenant has a right to withhold rent and report you if they suspect such a thing.

Does the rent increase impact security deposit limits?

Charging a security deposit when renting to a Florida tenant is an important part of being a Florida landlord. Florida statutes do not limit the amount you can charge as a security deposit. While certain parts of a landlord's claim and handling of security deposits is covered under Florida Landlord-Tenant Law, it's always a good idea to also know your state's specific security deposit laws.

Some of the information covered about security deposits under Florida rental laws is things such as when Florida landlords have a right to claim a portion of security deposits. This could be due to a number of things like nonpayment of rent, proof of damage to the rented premises, clauses broken in any rental agreements, or having to recover possession of the dwelling from a tenant.

Other pieces of important information included in Florida rental laws about security deposits is having to provide your Florida tenant with the name of the Florida banking institution their deposit is being held in. It also includes your responsibility when it comes to having the deposit money in a separate interest-bearing account.

In any case, it's important to know the Florida landlord-tenant laws when it comes to a Florida tenant's security deposit and increasing rent from what was stated in said tenant's lease.

In most cases, raising the rent price on the lease means you have a legal basis for raising the security deposit as well. In most cases, the new security deposit should be a multiple of the amount of the old security deposit. The new rent price, as well as the new security deposit amount, should be stated within the new rental agreement.

For example, if the rent on your old lease with the Florida tenant was $900 and now it's increased to $1,200. The previous security deposit was $1,800 but after the rent increase, you could raise it to $2,400. Check your local laws to see the exact security deposit limits in your area before drafting the new rental agreement.

one half the time on legal holidays security deposit is high

Can your Florida tenants reject the rent increase?

Yes. Your tenant could reject the price increase stated in the new lease. It may be a combination of the rent increase and the security deposit increase that causes this. If the landlord and tenant both agree that they want the tenant to stay, you may be willing to decrease the price, but oftentimes this is not the case.

A tenant who does not want to pay an increased rent will often agree to move out after their lease agreement ends. Until then, they can remain in the rental unit and continue paying rent at their current price. Though they must prepare to gather up their personal property and leave once the rental agreement ends.

If the tenant refuses the increased rent but also refuses to leave or pay rent, this can be a reason to begin the eviction process. The eviction process is one no Florida residential landlord wants to deal with, but it's necessary at times. You can't lose income due to nonpayment of rent and the Tenant Act may give the tenant ideas about a court order.

As long as you follow the Florida landlord-tenant laws including things like respecting the health codes, you'll be fine. If a landlord fails to do this, it's not just illegal, but dangerous.

The bottom line: Florida rent increase laws

Increasing rent is necessary to keep up with the rental market. You must follow Florida state and federal laws to ensure that your rent increase is lawful. Such laws will require that you: 

  • Provide your tenant with written notice of the rent increase
  • Do not increase the rent for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons
  • Raise your security deposit charge on a legal basis 
  • Are aware that your tenant can reject the rent increase
  • Understand that there are no limits on rent increase (but you should aim not to charge too much or too little) 
  • Check your local laws on rent control or stabilization

If this seems overwhelming, you can hire the top property management company in the area, Income Realty Corporation, to take care of this matter for you. Give us a call at (305) 251-5561 for more information.